National Foods lists on Victoria Falls stock exchange VFEX chair Mrs Caroline Sandura hands over listing certificate to National Foods Holdings Limited chief executive Mr Mike Lashbrook at the listing ceremony in Victoria Falls

Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls

ZIMBABWE’S largest milling and food processing company, National Foods Limited (NFL) has officially listed on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX), becoming the eighth issuer on the foreign currency-denominated bourse.

VFEX is the only exchange in Africa trading in the United States dollars and was established as a pioneering offshore financial services centre by Government in 2020 to attract global investment.

It has attracted eight listings in its three years of operation.

Before NFL, giant seed producer and distributor SeedCo International Limited, mining giant — Caledonia Mining, skins  and meat processor

Padenga and Bindura Nickel Corporation Nedbank Zimbabwe, pan-African fast-food group, Simbisa Brands Limited and Karo Holdings Limited had listed on the bourse.

Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza was the guest of honour at the listing ceremony said the tremendous growth by the bourse is testimony to the industrial growth taking place in the country through value addition.

“Government is excited to see the listing of National Foods Limited, the first food procession giant on the VFEX. This exemplifies the primary function of our capital markets to mobilise and channel investment capital into productive sectors of the economy and create downstream opportunities for the prosperity of the nation,” said Dr Nzenza.

She said in line with the National Development Strategy, NFL has embarked on a strategy to move up the value chain through value addition in its portfolio of basic cereal products.

Dr Nzenza said the listing on the VFEX will provide National Foods with greater opportunity to raise capital against a dollarized balance sheet while also improving regional profile and commercial standing.

For the first time in the history of VFEX, three ministries attended the listing ceremony.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development and Finance and Economic Development Deputy Ministers Vangelis Haritatos and Clemence Chiduwa attended. They urged more companies to list, while commending VFEX for working hard to attract issuers.

NFL chairman Mr Godfrey Gwainda said the listing signals a new chapter as it marks a significant milestone for the company.

He said NFL remains positive on the outlook and the future of the Zimbabwean economy hence it is making substantial investments to both existing and other categories.

“The move was not taken without careful thought and consideration. The move to the VFEX will unlock value to both local and foreign shareholders.

“Although our current focus is to capatalise on the many opportunities we see on the local market, we believe that our presence on the VFEX will facilitate easier access to possible regional opportunities in the long run,” said Mr Gwanda.

VFEX chair Mrs Caroline Sandura said: “By listing on VFEX, NFL will be able to raise United States dollar capital which in turn enhances the potential of the company to grow both organically and inorganically. Government’s increase in retention ratio for exporters listed on the VFEX to 100 percent will enhance National Foods’ ability to settle its foreign currency liabilities and preserve value in an inflationary environment.

“We are hopeful that 2023 will be one of the best years for the VFEX in terms of new listings and product diversification.”

NFL is the country’s largest food manufacturer, producing a broad range of fast-moving consumer goods as well as animal feed with an international distribution network.

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